Bride catchment on red alert for invasive species

COMBATTING INVASIVE SPECIES IN CASTLELYONS: Cork County Council's Sharon Casey (right) in the presence of l-r: Sinead Hickey, Tony Nagle, Colm O'Leary, Jean Hamilton and Donal Sheehan at Tuesday press briefing at the amenity area in Bridesbridge. (Picture: John Ahern)

Unwelcome visitors that need to be weeded out and eradicated. It all seems a little harsh but in the context of maintaining balance when it comes to Ireland’s flora, it has to be done. 

The three main plant suspects are Hogweed, Himalyan Balsam and Japanese Knotweed – all are environmentally problematic, however, Hogweed or Giant Hogweed, inflicts serious burns on those who handle it. 

The BRIDE Project which seeks to promote best practice when it comes to environmentally friendly farming, is based in Castlelyons and loosely follows part of the River Bride’s course. 

Endorsed by committed activists like Tony Nagle and Donal Sheehan, the BRIDE Project is an enthusiastic backer of moves to map, survey and hopefully eradicate all three of the aforementioned plants.

They are doing this in close co-operation with Cork County Council who are in turn, financially supported by the National Biodiversity Action Plan, other stakeholders include, JBA Consulting, who specialise in environmental work. 

At last Tuesday’s press briefing at the amenity area in Bridesbridge, Sharon Casey outlined Cork County Council’s support for a survey in the Castlelyons area and which falls within the catchment of the BRIDE Project catchment, she was joined by Jean Hamilton (JBA Consulting) and ecology surveyor, Colm O’Leary along with locals, Sinead Hickey, Tony Nagle and Donal Sheehan. 

Sharon explained how the presence of invasive species is threatening native plants, contributing to erosion and affecting pollination. 

The survey in Castlelyons is also aimed at creating public awareness about invasive plants and getting groups and organisations involved. 

“It’s a big problem that will need cross community support, we need landowners and farmers in particular to assist us if we are to curtail these species,” Donal Sheehan said. 

With regard to DIY methods of controlling these plants, best practice is to note the plants’ location and pass on this information to members of the BRIDE Project. 

Donal was keen that the work already done by local man, Jamie Conran be acknowledged. Jamie has carried out an extensive invasive plants survey in the environs of the Shanowen and Shanowen Drimonagh streams.